Packing the perfect picnic is a fantastic way to get outside and spend some time with your family. But having an outdoor meal can also be a chance to eat foods that will improve your teeth! Below are some picnic “must haves” that taste great, and help keep your mouth healthy!
French Onion Dip
French onion dip is a delicious condiment to add to just about anything, but did you know that you can make it in a really healthy way? A lot of French onion dip recipes call for sour cream as the primary ingredient, but you can substitute nonfat greek yogurt for sour cream and gain more mouth healthy benefits. Nonfat greek yogurt is high in calcium which strengthens teeth, and also contains high amounts of healthy bacteria that can help prevent tooth decay. It has less calories, more protein, and offers a lighter, zestier flavor. So skip the sour cream and add more nonfat greek yogurt.Celery, Carrots and Raw Bell Pepper
Raw vegetables like carrots, celery and bell pepper are excellent dipping alternatives to unhealthy chips and crackers. Starchy carbs like potato chips and crackers can stick to your teeth and cause unhealthy acid buildup which can lead to cavities. Fibrous vegetables like celery can actually clean your teeth as you eat! So choose vegetables instead of chips, they are better for your overall health, and won’t stick to your teeth like starchy carbs typically used as dippers.
Cheese is a dental super food. It is high in calcium, which strengthens teeth, and also contains casein, a protein that helps protect the surface of your teeth. Cheese also stimulates saliva production, which helps rid teeth of bad bacteria that can lead to cavities. Try packing a few different cheeses for your picnic to get a good variety. We suggest a sharp cheddar, gruyere, swiss cheese and bleu. You’ll get a variety of flavors to choose from, and added dental benefits!
Chicken salad is a great dish that is full of lean protein, and pretty versatile. Chicken is high in phosphorous, which is a key mineral in protecting teeth and promoting enamel growth. Chicken salad is also a highly customizable dish! To make it the most mouth healthy, we suggest substituting mayonnaise with nonfat Greek yogurt as the binder, and incorporating celery, almonds and raw bell peppers, to really boost the mouth-healthy benefits.
Apples are high in water and fiber, which stimulates gums and saliva production. In fact, the fibrous nature of apples helps scrub teeth as they are eaten. We suggest using fresh apple slices as a healthy dessert at the end of your picnic to satisfy your sweet tooth, and help scrub any leftover debris from between your teeth.
Water is one of the best tools we have in keeping our mouths clean, especially fluoridated water, which helps make teeth more resistant to acidic foods. When preparing a picnic, grab a water bottle instead of juice or soda. Also, you can swish water around after you’re done eating to help keep your mouth clean. Swishing water helps remove debris caught in your teeth that can lead to enamel loss and acid buildup.
If you’re concerned about your child’s diet, and think that it may be affecting their teeth, then visit our pediatric office. We will work with you and discuss mouth-healthy foods that promote beautiful, healthy smiles. We will also work with you to find the treatment plan that best suits your child’s needs for better oral health.